Charter Schools Want Empty Schools Buildings

(Memphis) Parents aren’t standing by quietly as Superintendent Dorsey Hopson talks of closing a dozen schools, saying it’s the best way to educate under-performing students

“It always brings a lot of emotion but at the end of the day we have to do what’s best for students,” said Hopson

State representative Raumesh Akbari wonders if something else is at play.

“All I’ve heard about so far is the possibility of converting them to charter schools. I don’t know what will happen but we can’t leave them closed,” said Akbari.

Charter school operators say they won’t. Those empty buildings are in need.

Jamal McCall with KIPP Memphis told us tonight, “There are enough charter operators interested in those buildings, that none have to go empty; that is provided the lease amount is favorable.”

SCS could make money off lease payments from whomever takes over the building.

The good news is neighborhoods won’t deal with blight, but parents say the bad news is it injects money into the equation.

They hope the school system doesn’t see dollar signs from the charter schools and put cash before kids

“This is about money not about our kids, it’s about money,” said Bridget Bradley, an SCS parent.

School Board Member Kevin Woods said tonight SCS wouldn’t enter into any talks about the future of the buildings until the board votes on the matter, but ensuring that those neighborhoods are left with a blighted building was always top of mind.

4 comments

  • austinandjustin

    I don’t pretend to understand why closing schools is the best way to educating underperforming kids. IMO school consolidation was a mistake. Schools with smaller classes and a low student to teacher ratio would seem to be a better way of educating underperforming kids. More schools would also insure that more kids are involved in extracurricular activities, clubs, and foster school spirit and school pride. But it seems that I am in the minority and big schools where kids get lost in the crowd seems to be the preference.

  • John Tilmon

    If the schools cost too much to run, why is a private enterprise willing to take them over? Charter schools received $60 million from this year’s school budget. They seem to be looking for a way to get more.

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